Thanks to modern technological advancements Nikola Tesla’s original electric motor design from the 19th century is now being used to power our cars and other motorized equipment. In turn this development is leading to less pollution and a healthier planet. Now the electric trend is starting to sweep its way into farming tractors. We are finding more and more that solar power and tractors are a perfect fit. What progress has been made so far to remove the internal combustion engine from our farming tools and take a solar power electric approach instead?
Why electric motors are perfect for tractors
Tractors don’t need to go fast, nor do they need a long range like cars do, so an electric powered tractor is perfect. They can mount big solar panels to extend the range of the tractor so it will run as long as there is sunlight. And since tractors don’t go faster than 25 mph, aerodynamics is not a big deal. Also, with electric motors, they have a ton of instant torque do to having high efficiency, and usually only one gear. With this tractors can get more work done. And this doesn’t even include that electric power is cheaper to run and cheaper to maintain than normal gas power. Finally, the fact that there are no emissions means that there are no harmful gas products being spread on our crops, allowing for a healthier population and planet.
What electric tractors have been made so far?
Sadly, no mass production tractor has been put into production yet, but one of the biggest tractor producers, John Deere, has unveiled its plans for an all electric tractor in 2016, but three years later there is no updates so major companies still have a long way to go. But, people with the mechanical knowledge have already started making solar powered tractors. A family took an old 1950 Ford 8N and converted it to run on electric power with a giant solar roof. They say the tractor cost around $4100 to convert it, so if you have the mechanical know how this project is not as expensive as you might think! The only con to this is that they say it takes 8-10 hours to recharge. So it is best to have a fast charger installed in your home to speed up this process.
Electric motors now are gaining traction thanks to their success in the automobile industry. Now electric power is being implemented into other industries. One of the best industries to implement this is the tractor industry due to the reasons above. So it is only a matter of time before major tractor companies either innovate or are forced to make electric only tractors. And like we said, if you have the mechanical know how, feel free to try and convert a tractor yourself!
In our last post we talked about painting your newly restored tractor. Before you can paint it though you have to put in the work of restorig it. Today’s tractors aren’t the same as they used to be. With a ton of electronic assistants many would rather buy an old worn out tractor and restore it to its original condition. However, in order to restore the original nostalgia you’ll run into some challenges along the way.
Finding Vehicle & Parts
The first thing you need obviously is the tractor to restore. Some of you might already have an old tractor in the back of your barn that hasn’t been touched in decades, or some of you might have already sold your old tractor or your current one is too rusted to restore. You should start by looking at your local craigslist or tractor house listings to see if you can find a restorable tractor near you. But, if you need to find the specific tractor that your dad sold way back in the day, you’re in for a long journey that might be impossible to relocate depending on how much it has been sold and swapped. After you have a tractor to restore, you then need to assess the condition of your tractor. Here are some common questions to ask yourself…
How much rust is on the tractor, and how bad is the rust on the tractor?
How hard are the parts to find on the tractor, and how expensive are the parts?
How exact do you need your restoration to be?
What parts can you repair, what parts do you need to replace?
What is your budget?
Once you have answered these questions you can go about scouring for parts across the internet and farms. Depending on how rare your tractor is, this might be easy or hard. You may need to buy another tractor just to get the correct bolt or engine part to be the right fit depening on the machine period. Another way to find the right parts are by matching serial numbers. Obviously the internet is a great help as there are various forms for all makes of tractors.
Finding Money and Time
This could be the hardest of them all, if you are unable to find money or time your tractor will stay in your garage just like it always has. So make a plan of what you need to do, and when you can do it. Assuming you are working a 9-5 job you will have limited time on the weekdays to complete your project. So, unless you are committed to doing the whole process yourself you might want to go by a local mechanics shop and see what work they can do. They have all the tools and machines necessary so if you don’t have the knowledge or time to work on some part of the tractor, don’t worry! Finally, make sure that you have a budget to plan out all foreseeable expenses to make sure you don’t leave your beautiful restoration unfinished or have to take out a loan.
There are many steps that come with restoring an old or antique tractor. From deciding on the type of tractor you want to revive, the mechanics that go into it and finally the paint! Of course getting the tractor to run and run well is first most important, aside from that the paint job is just as important. Why? Not only does your paint job bring out all the beauty of this antique machine, it also helps to protect and preserve your restoration. In fact applying a paint protection film is highly recommended as well. An expertly installed PPF helps to preserve your paint job and adds to the overall protection. But before we get ahead of ourselves let’s talk about all that needs to be done to give your newly restored tractor a perfect paint job.
Painting Your Restored Tractor
Protective Mask- When we say protective mask we mean a good one. Paint fumes, dust and particles are going to be swirling around you. Breathing these toxins in can be very harmful and causes unwanted side effects such as dizziness, coughing and even death.
Materials- You want to make sure that you have all of the materials needed before starting out to ensure you don’t take any shortcuts. Short cuts can lead to poor results when it comes to painting your tractor. The right kind of sandpaper, sanding block or orbital sander is very crucial. Next a paint gun, top quality paint, air compressor and masking tape are also materials that will be needed.
Time & Patience– We know you might be excited to view your finished product or to get painting out of the way because it can be very slow going, but you must allow for a good chunk of your time as well as patience to get this job done. If you take your time you will see better results. Smooth, even coats are what you’re looking for.
Paint Protection- For a longer lasting paint job and added protection for your tractor it is very important that you use a good primer/base coat, as well as apply some type of paint protection film. While most people are familiar with PPF for cars, trucks and other vehicles as such, why can’t it be used on a tractor too? Not only does it add protection to your paint job it also helps to protect against other elements such a weather, foliage and farm related objects.
Color- Let’s not forget the color. The color you choose can help to bring out the features and beauty of your newly restored tractor. What color was it originally? What other colors might it have come in at the time? Of course you don’t always have to go with the original color you can always paint it whatever color you desire!
Painting your own tractor can be a tedious and time consuming job. You also have to go at it with a good amount of effort and patience. If painting is not for you seek the help of a professional.
Many of us wish to go back to a simpler time. A time where everything didn’t include complex computers and needed an app to set up and use. Some even take the big move and decide to move out of the city or the suburbs to buy some farmland and live off the land. Well, what’s a farmer without a tractor. Rather than buying a new fancy tractor with technology and complexity you don’t want, buy an antique tractor that is cheap, easy to work on, and has more style and soul than anything you can buy new. Here are just a few of the more popular antique tractors throughout history.
John Deere 4020- Average Price Now $10000
When you think of tractors, you think of the classic green and yellow tractor that John Deere has been making since the early 1900s. This tractor was produced from 1964-1972 and while not as big selling as its predecessor the Model B, this tractor offered more power from a fancy new 6 cylinder engine replacing the older 2 cylinder one. This tractor owes part of its popularity to its use in the Clint Eastwood movie “The Bridges of Madison County”. This is the tractor that set it above its competitors and made John Deere who it is today.
Ford Model 8N- Average Price Now $4000
What, Ford made tractors? Yes, and their most popular model was this post WWII model that managed to sell over half a million units during the only 6 years it was in production. These sales numbers allowed it to become the best selling tractor of all time.
International Harvester/Farmall Model M- Average Price Now $2500
This classic bright red tractor was once of International Harvester’s most popular models ever. This tractor had a long lifespan being produced from 1939 up till 1952. Certainly not the fanciest or most powerful tractor on this list, it is still a great investment and will still get the job done.
Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder of the same Lamborghini that makes some of the craziest and fastest automobiles in existence today, started off making tractors for farmers in the Italian countryside. In fact, his tractor business did so well that he bought himself a Ferrari 250 GT. He only decided to transfer to automobiles when he thought he could make a better car than Ferrari. Today, you can find a few old Lamborghini tractors although most of them are still in Italy so you would have to import them. Price varies wildly.
Before you go and spend your life savings on that fancy new tractor with all the new fancy features consider saving quite a bit of money with an old classic tractor that will not only get the job done, but get it done in style.
Tractors that we now deem as antique were once the norm for those tractors used in farming and other types of job in the early 19th century. In fact dating back to the 19th century tractors were first powered by steam engines or traction engines. These engines were not powered by belts and pulled plows and threshing machines. These first steam powered engine tractors were eventually found to be quite bulky and harder to utilize on soft ground. Thus the internal combustion engine was introduced with the first gasoline powered tractor engine made in 1892 by John Froelich. Froelich founded and owned Froelich’s Waterloo Gasoline Tractor Engine Company which was eventually purchased from him by John Deere. I’m sure everyone has heard of John Deere tractors over the years, but what are some of the other first tractor manufacturers to come about during the 19th century?
First Tractor Manufacturers
Jerome Increase Case- Case started the J.I. Chase Company which manufactured steam engine tractors and also eventually produced internal combustion engine tractors.
John Deere-John Deere first bought Froelich’s tractor company which eventually lead to John Deere Tractor Company, which was once deemed the leading agricultural equipment producer in the U.S.
I.H. Farm Tractors-Also known as the International Harvester Company they were an early manufacturer of a very popular internal combustion engine tractor
Fordson Tractors-This company was actually founded by Henry Ford the automobile manufacturer and was in direct competition with Farmall Tractors
These early tractor manufacturers helped to not only make farming a lot easier, they also paved the way for new age tractors and continued to create and manufacture tractors that were ever changing for framers growing needs as well as ease. You can find some of the first tractors, now antiques, on display at various museums throughout the United States or in Antique Tractor Magazines. One thing that is for certain is that antique tractors are both a beautiful work of art and some of the greatest machines of all time!
Hello and welcome to our site dedicated to the restoration and rebuilding of antique and vinatge farm tractors. While we appreciate and have a love for all tractors, our site is mainly focused on antique tractors and their abilities on farm lands and other open fields. We find that older tractors have a sene of history and were just built different in general. Don’t get us wrong we think that a John Deere tractor can definitely put some work in but we wanted to share our appreciation for the older style tractors and just what they are capable of when restored, rebuilt or maintained.